Sustainable Behaviour & Conclusion

Concluding with Sustainable Behaviour

Based on the survey results, it can be seen that Singaporeans do have a positive attitude towards water conservation. However, they might not act in accordance to the attitude. Thus, there is a need to ensure such water-conserving behavior exists within Singaporeans.

The three types of individual behavior that assist in water conservation are curtailment behavior, behavioral choice and technology choice (Clayton & Meyers, 2009). Curtailment behaviors involve personal sacrifices. For instance, reducing water usage. Behavioral choices are behaviors that have a lesser impact on the environment. One such example is watering plants using rainwater as compared to using tap water. Technology choices are the selection of technology innovation that benefits the environment. An example will be to purchase a dual flush toilet. Various factors can have an effect on the behaviors. 

Water Conservation Practices

The survey results shows that majority of the respondents practiced curtailment behaviors; a high percentage of respondents indicated that they ensure taps do not drip, they used minimal water for cleaning and they only used the washing machine when it is full. The second type of behavior that was widely practiced by respondents was technology choice behavior. Respondents indicated that they had equipped their homes with water saving technology such as dual flush toilet and efficient showerheads. 

However, a small percentage of respondents showcased behavioral choices such as collecting water when it rains, and using collected water for a separate usage. Theory of planned behavior indicated that if individual perceived the ease of performing the behavior to be difficult, they might not persist in the behavior (Ajzen, 1991). This might be a reason on why behavioral choice was not widely practiced.

Factors such as reinforcement contingency and feedback may have encouraged both curtailment and technology choice behaviors in Singapore. In reinforcement contingency, behaviors that are rewarded are more likely to be repeated as compared to behaviors that are being punished. By equipping oneself with water saving technologies and minimizing the usage of water, individuals are able to reduce their water expenses. The amount of money saved act as a reward to them. Thus, this reinforces their behavior. Feedback is given to all Singaporeans through their water bills. This allows individual to monitor and lowers their water usage (Van Vugt, 2001).

Feedback located at Water Bill

Knowledge is a key factor in sustainable behavior. The survey results showcased that respondents understand the importance of water conservation. PUB has implemented various educational programmes to the public as well as educational institutions. Such programme should be encouraged to further equip individuals on the importance of water conservation. By equipping individuals with the required knowledge, they can act upon it. Knowledge is a key predictor of environmental behavior (Hines et al, 1987)

Initiatives that should be applauded are the active, beautiful and clean waters programme as well as introducing water sport activities at selected reservoirs. Having these programmes enhances affiliation between nature and the individual. Having affiliation with nature creates environmental identity. Study conducted by Kals et al (1999) showcased that emotional affinity toward nature predicted environmentally protective behavior and behavioral intentions. Thus, this might further encourage individuals to adopt the three types of sustainable behavior. 
Water Sport Activities
Active, Beautiful & Clean Waters Programme

Sustainable behavior can be further encouraged through prompts and social norms. Study conducted by PUB indicated that majority of water was used for toilet flushing and washing. Thus, prompt should be placed to remind people to save water. Since the respondents have a positive attitude towards water conservation, a reminder may be all they need. However, it is important to ensure that the reminder is not perceived as rude or demanding. If it is seen as such, it will often lead to backlash. This is because they see the reminder as a way to control their behavior.

Another alternative that could be implemented is through social norms. Normative information can be obtained through observation and descriptive information. A study by Nolan et al (2008) indicated that social norms affect individual’s behavior. The study showcased that a message describing the actual use of each homeowner had an effect in reduction of energy use in each home. PUB can implement this initiative. A message could be added in Singaporean’s bill, to inform them of the actual use of other residents.

Lastly, PUB should tap on more social platform and media resources such as facebook, radio and newspaper to increase the awareness level among the public users.

Singapore has come a long way in water conservation. And the struggle to ensure sufficient water management has made an impact towards Singaporeans, resulting in positive attitude on water conservation. In recent years, Singapore has achieved a stable source of water. And this stability may have instilled a sense of complacency in Singaporeans. Singaporeans need to constantly be reminded that there might be a possibility of water scarcity if water conservation behavior does not take place.

Keeping Singapore Clean